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AIBU School plays with girls taking on the male lead?

(43 Posts)
Boudiccaiceni Thu 08-Feb-18 12:09:56

AIBU to think that there are few school plays (primary age) where the lead is female? I mean a lead that is a hero, saves the day type lead not Sleeping Beauty.

I am aware girls are often told they can play either female or male parts however, AIBU to think dressing girls up as boys to portray a strong male character is sending the wrong message and is not the same as actually having a female hero or lead.
Are there a companies out there that write plays for schools for 21st century where male and females are represented equally.
I am hoping to be told IABU.

catscan Thu 08-Feb-18 12:15:57

It's not an issue with school plays but with folk stories in general, isn't it?

In fact I just scanned the 'currently showing' page at Odeon. There's 12 featured films and the leading man is featured at the forefront of the poster of 10, and equally with the leading woman in the other 2.

PinkyBlunder Thu 08-Feb-18 12:17:27

I think you’re overthinking it far too much.

For your information though, females playing male roles and in particular, males playing female roles has been a thing since humans started acting on stage for entertainment.

Rufustherenegadereindeer1 Thu 08-Feb-18 12:19:17

boudica

I think you are right

But i think that some schools do make an effort to change some of the characters to fit better

thecatsthecats Thu 08-Feb-18 12:20:47

catscan - I think the original Grimm Tales actually include quite a lot of proactive damsels going through the trials (usually to get back the transformed prince, or who were displaced by another woman, admittedly).

Personal, I think The Mouse, The Bird and The Sausage is ripe for inclusive adaptation. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mouse,_the_Bird,_and_the_Sausage

Boudiccaiceni Thu 08-Feb-18 12:24:21

Catascan You are right, it is a problem with folk stories but surely there is a company out there writing plays for 21st century. The mouse, the bird and the sausage sounds interesting.

1wokeuplikethis Thu 08-Feb-18 12:26:01

Over 20 years ago (ahem) when I was at primary school I got to play Joseph in the technicolor dreamboat. The teachers asked who wanted to play him, all the boys put their hands up and so did I because the question was who wanted to. I didn't think about gender roles as a 7 year old, I just wanted to. But none of the other girls put their hands up.

I suppose that was quite forward thinking for the 90's, but I don't recall anyone having a problem with it.

A lot of children's plays are old stories which have a male lead. Don't think there's anything wrong with a girl playing that role. The difference is that now I think there would be much more eye rolling at PC gone mad and equality stupidity and gender fluidity etc whereas back in the day it was just sort of a surprised oh, yeah why not sort of reaction.

1wokeuplikethis Thu 08-Feb-18 12:27:43

*dreamcoat obv

Boudiccaiceni Thu 08-Feb-18 12:28:06

pinkyblunder
I think you’re overthinking it far too much.

For your information though, females playing male roles and in particular, males playing female roles has been a thing since humans started acting on stage for entertainment.

Why am I overthinking this? Does the research not show that girls are less confident than boys by the age of 10? Surely all their experiences including school plays show girls where they fit in society?

I am aware females were originally played by men but not the other way round because women were not allowed to perform on stage years ago! Not sure how that helps in making things equal.

Boudiccaiceni Thu 08-Feb-18 12:30:19

*1wokeuplikethis Thu 08-Feb-18 12:26:01
Over 20 years ago (ahem) when I was at primary school I got to play Joseph in the technicolor dreamboat. The teachers asked who wanted to play him, all the boys put their hands up and so did I because the question was who wanted to. I didn't think about gender roles as a 7 year old, I just wanted to. But none of the other girls put their hands up.*

Interesting, 1wokeuplikethis, it kind of proves my point that it takes an exception to take on the male lead and as most children's plays have male leads it really skews things.

DuckAndPancakes Thu 08-Feb-18 12:30:24

The plays at our school are bloody ridiculous. Aliens at Christmas.
DD played head alien though.

InvisibleUnicorn Thu 08-Feb-18 12:30:44

My DD is doing a version of Cinderella at school. Apart from the Prince, all of the other roles are female. They changed the "king" to "queen" etc as well.

It reflects the fact that her class is mostly girls.

DuckAndPancakes Thu 08-Feb-18 12:32:38

She also played Santa the year before.

Now she’s been told she can’t have main parts as it’s not fair on the other children. Even though she was chosen on ability at performing and memorising lines.

But yeh, in general it is skewed in favour of male roles over female

fruitpastille Thu 08-Feb-18 12:32:58

School plays I've been aware of in recent years - Wizard of Oz, chitty chitty bang bang, Matilda, Cinderella all had great female parts. Nativity obviously has Mary but it's usually retold from the point of view of a shepherd or other random character. So I haven't noticed an issue to be honest.

Boudiccaiceni Thu 08-Feb-18 12:33:03

Invisibleunicorn

Urgh! So many parts except the hero who saves Cinderella from her life of drudgery!

Boudiccaiceni Thu 08-Feb-18 13:21:54

So, is there a company out there who writes plays for schools which are not based on gender stereotypes and has equal male and female heroes?

If not, any budding playwrights out there?

bridgetoc Thu 08-Feb-18 13:31:55

Cast the right person for the right role if you can. If the character is a girl, cast a girl, and if it's a boy, cast a boy. It's that simple......

I watched a production of Oliver Twist in the summer where Oliver was played by an asian girl. What next? Pochahontas being played by a fat ginger haired boy? PC nut jobs........

TeenTimesTwo Thu 08-Feb-18 13:40:26

I saw a school show of Made in Dagenham last night.
Absolutely fantastic message to send to the girls (and boys) in the school, and a strong female lead too.
Don't see how you could do it in primary though - you'd need to cut so much of the language in the songs.

gillybeanz Thu 08-Feb-18 13:46:57

I don't think there's anything wrong with it.
Lots of art forms have done this for centuries, both ways.
Principle boys in panto have always been girls, as have dames.
In opera there are trouser roles for women.

When it's school children surely the teacher has to go with what they have in the class, not only gender but ability too.

Boudiccaiceni Thu 08-Feb-18 14:01:57

Gillybeanz

It has been done is because women were not allowed to perform on stage and so the female role was performed by a male.
However, this is missing the point.
The hero should not (nearly always) be the male or a female dressed as male. There are limited plays with a female hero, whether that is played by a female or male is irrelevant.

Boudiccaiceni Thu 08-Feb-18 14:05:22

Principle boy roles........

"A Breeches role was also a rare opportunity for an early 20th-century actress to wear a costume revealing the legs covered only in tights, potentially increasing the size of the audience."

So the tradition is also derived from a way to show a woman's body for titilation of a male audience.

bunbunny Thu 08-Feb-18 14:12:12

Bridgetoc I watched a school production of Oliver last year where the lead role was taken by a girl - she was by far the strongest member of the cast so was the right one to take on the lead role.

The school ran it as Olivia rather than Oliver - made absolutely no difference to the story and got the best production as the strongest person was able to take the lead role.

Carouselfish Thu 08-Feb-18 14:25:06

Let's just scrap all the stories made before 2000 and only write about heroic females from now on.Or, lets not bother thinking of any new female-lead stories and just rewrite all the classics with females in the lead instead.
Because all females are incapable of imagining themselves doing things that male characters are doing - they must BE female, otherwise it's simply too huge a leap of empathy and imagination.
Snore, OP.

Beamur Thu 08-Feb-18 14:29:59

Stories with a romantic element are also a bit icky for the kids especially in Primary School. At DD's school they've done Wizard of Oz, Annie and Alice in Wonderland (all good for female roles) and when they did Peter Pan, both Peter and Wendy were played by girls.

TeenTimesTwo Thu 08-Feb-18 14:30:41

I think it is fair enough to expect that a school doesn't consistently do shows where the lead character is male (whether acted by a boy or a girl). It's about having positive role models and about showing both sexes that girls can be the leader/protagonist too. It's the subliminal drip drip affect of the lead character always being a boy which is an issue.

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